Nevis Election Petition Started Monday

Brantley is seeking a Court Order to overturn the July 11th 2011 Election result, that saw the candidate for the ruling Nevis Reformation Party, (NRP), Mr. Hensley Daniel, being declared the winner. Brantley has however cited cited certain irregularities that he feels warrants an overturn of the result.

Daniel who is now the Deputy Premier of Nevis, has been named as the 1st respondent (defendant) of the Election Petition, but he has not been personally accused of any wrongdoing in the July 11th, 2011 NIA poll.

Among the named respondents of note are: the Premier of Nevis, Mr. Joseph Parry and the Attorney General, Mr. Patrice Nisbett, both of whom ran in the election, with Parry winning his seat easily but Nisbett again failing to secure victory, at the local island level. He is however a Federal Member of Parliament.

During the hour-long opening, oral submissions were also made by Senior Counsel Mendes for the petitioner and Counsel for the Premier, Mr. Oral Martin, who told His Lordship Justice Lionel Jones that he expects the Court to dismiss the petition.

Meanwhile, Brantley’s counsel, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes’ during his , oral submissions covered issues relating to the publication of revised monthly lists, notices of objections, objections hearings, and access to or coverage by NNC of CCM’s campaign. Mendes’ oral submissions were diverted at least six times by His Lordship Justice Jones, either seeking further explanation or clarification, according to a government release.

It was the charge of Mr. Mendes that the Registration Officer, Mrs. Bernadette Lawrence, acted in violation of the law, which required the publication of a revised monthly list. In reaction to Mendes’ claim, that none of the new voter registrants, who registered between January and the cut-off date in 2011, (before the election), should be allowed to vote, Justice Jones asked Mendes, whether that would  not create some injustice.

In reaction to Mendes’ statement that the law states that the Registration Officer shall immediately notify objectees of objections, Justice Jones asked Mendes what ‘immediately’ meant. In reaction to Mendes’ statement that the law states that objectees should receive five days notice of an objection hearing, Justice Jones asked Mendes, “five days from when?” 

In reaction to Mendes’ claim that NNC did not cover any of CCM’s campaign, Justice Jones asked Mendes whether NNC had refused to carry something. In reaction to Mendes’ claim that the failure of NNC to cover CCM’s campaign violated Constitutional rights, Justice Jones asked Mendes how he could be bringing a Constitutional motion in an Election Petition. Mendes’ response was, “good question.” 

Astaphan stated that the non-publication of revised monthly lists wasn’t a new occurrence. He said, “There never was, it wasn’t something that started last year.” 

Other issues addressed by Astaphan included: notices for objections, failure by the petitioner to seek legal recourse to remedy his complaints prior to the Election, bias and misfeasance, and the Constitutional right of a voter to object to and expose improper registration.

His Lordship Justice Jones outlined at the commencement of the trial that Court would start at 9:00am daily and break at 11:15 for 15 minutes and then break for lunch at 12:30pm and resume at 2:00pm.

It is expected that His Lordship Justice Jones will rule (on Tuesday morning), prior to the presentation of evidence by lawyers for the petitioner, on an application by the petitioner for the CARICOM Observer Report to be admitted as evidence and other applications before him.


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